Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween

First, Happy Halloween everyone.

Second, sorry for not writing last week. Last week was full of surprises in my household. If you are from Dallas or in the journalism industry, you probably heard of last week's layoffs at Belo Corp. As a result, The Dallas Morning news had to reduce its workforce by 10 per cent. My husband was one of 250 (150 employees at the newspaper) who got laid off. So much for our Halloween plans for this year :-(

Third, we're in a moving mood. With no signs of improvement in Dallas IT programming job market -- I don't expect it to improve anytime soon -- we decided our best choice is to look for jobs in other states. Hopefully, our next home will be somewhere in Florida, California or Louisiana. These are the states with good weather, beaches and big newspapers. I also heard their IT job markets are recovering bit better than Texas. We'll consider other states if jobs are available. So, I may get to find a job in my profession again :-)

Forth, I still must continue my fall semester with all these sudden changes. Isn't that fun?

Fifth, for the undecided voters out there, would you please make up your mind? If you can't decide between Kerry or Bush, then vote for Dave Barry. He'll make the most humorous presidency in the American history.

Six, I'll keep blogging. Don't worry about this part.

Seventh, I'll leave today with a good laugh.

Post Links:
How Halloween Works
Belo Reveals Results of Circulation Probe, Will Lay Off 250
Strange, I don't feel thinner
Dave Barry For President 2004
You Know You Work For Corporate America

Monday, October 25, 2004

An Iraqi's Thought

I learned something lately. Anytime there is bad news from Iraq, I read a few Iraqi blogs and try to go eat at the Mediterranean Cafe & Bakery in Richardson, Texas. Good food is a healing remedy for most Iraqis.

Sami wrote a great post. It's titled "Venting." It's a MUST READ post. At least for people like me, who love Iraq and wish it a great future. His venting started with:

For those who still defend the ‘resistance/terrorists’ in Iraq.

I feel great shame whenever I hear of Iraqis or non-Iraqis who defend the terrorists destroying my country. I do not know how kidnapping, beheading, suicide bombings and mass executions of the security apparatus can be seen as resistance. Please spare me the conspiracy theories that US is doing all these attacks to prolong their stay in Iraq. I think if any person was sane they would not actually believe that the US would play a hand in operations that make them look as if they have no security over the country. The game is over, we realise that the loose coalition of Iraqis enemies have one goal in common, to make sure Iraqis suffer so much that they long for the return of the days of dictatorship were security was only achieved by force. Thankfully the numbers of Iraqis supporting these acts are few and far between and from my time spent in 3 different continents I do not bump into too many of these types, but also they have a habit of being two faced. You can almost tell whose who in the Iraqi community when they say the phrase, ‘ yeah Saddam was bad but the US is worse’ That alone makes me realise that its not the Iraqi people they ( perople who defend the terrorits) care about but some over expired feeling of nationalism and pride that failed with the Saddam experiment.


Keep up the faith everyone.

Iraqi Word of The Post:
food: أكل - / akill /

Arabic Word of The Post:
food: طعام - / Ta-aam /

Post Links:
Can We Provide More Protection?
Mediterranean Cafe & Bakery

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Can We Provide More Protection?

It was another sad day for the Iraqi military recruits. The bodies of 49 new recruits were found dead in Diyala province.

I read a few reports to find out more details on how this happened. The thing I found sad is those new recruits, who were returning home from their training camp, were sent in buses to their homes without any protection.

I won't blame anyone for lack of protection provided for the new recruits. All I request is more protection for people who are willing to enlist in the army. We can't afford to make more mistakes in Iraq. We can't turn back time and correct these mistakes. But, we can work fast to salvage what we can save.

May God rest the souls of those soldiers in greener lands.

UPDATE 10/25/2004
Read this report for more details on how this massacre took place.

Arabic Word of The Post:
protection: حماية - / Hee-maya /

Post Links:
Zarqawi group says it executed 49 unarmed recruits
Bodies of about 50 Iraqi soldiers discovered
Ambush Kills 50 Iraq Soldiers Execution Style

Doing It The Wiggles Way - Update II

Tabby arrived with her dad on Friday night. Yes, her father was granted a visa at the last minute.

It's 4 a.m. I need to go to sleep. Have a nice Sunday everyone. Please pray for the success of Tabby's medical treatment.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Iraqi Exodus

My scream for someone to pay attention to the current situation of the Iraqi Christians helped. The Dallas Morning News gave me another opportunity to write an article about the subject for their Viewpoints page. The article was published and ran as a centerpiece yesterday. I was amazed:

Fayrouz Hancock: Iraqi Exodus
Christians fleeing for their lives

Five Baghdad churches were bombed by insurgents last weekend. As a native of Iraq and a Christian, I pray that the American people will pay attention to what is happening to the Christian minority in my home country.

Things are getting worse by the day for Christians there, more and more of whom are mounting an exodus from the land where believers in Jesus Christ have lived for nearly 2,000 years. They are abandoning nice houses and good businesses to gain peace of mind in other countries. I don't want to see the Christian minority driven out of Iraq like the Jews were many years ago. If things don't change soon, one of the world's oldest Christian communities will go the same way.

Talking to my relatives in Iraq makes me certain things are not going well for Christians, who constitute an estimated 3 percent of Iraq's population, or 800,000 people. My aunt has complained many times about the Christians' situation in Basra since the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime. Islamic extremists are now trying to impose Iranian-style rules in the city. They started by burning liquor stores owned by Christians, and prohibited the sale of alcohol in public. My aunt left with her family for Syria in August.

The hardships Basra's Christian women face caused some families to follow my aunt's lead. Some who stayed behind refused to send their daughters to school last year for fear of kidnapping and harassment by the extremists, who want to force Christian females to adopt a very conservative dress code and a headscarf. Neither Muslim nor Christian women feel safe. The extremists killed a number of women who work on projects implemented by foreign countries.

In Baghdad, kidnapping of Christian business owners for ransom is a booming business. My friend's father was kidnapped, humiliated and released after his family collected and paid the required ransom. Another friend's family moved to Jordan after kidnapping threats against her brother. Many businesses owned by Christians have become the target of these gangs.

Kurdistan is the only part of Iraq where Christians are still unharmed and not forced to change their social lifestyle. This safe status may change if Kurds aren't guaranteed an autonomous government over their land.

Most Iraqi Christians belong to the Chaldean church, an Eastern-rite Catholic church that has its own hierarchy and liturgy but recognizes the pope. Other Christians belong to the Assyrian, Syriac Catholic, Armenian Orthodox and other churches. Western Christians often forget their brothers and sisters of the Eastern churches, whose ancestors were worshipping Christ while Europeans were still in thrall to paganism. In times like this, we wonder if Christians living in safety and freedom in the West even know our names.

We have survived in a Muslim-dominated country by keeping good relations with the Muslim population. Our bishops and priests always stood for our rights and taught us how to be the good Samaritans. Also, the secular governments that ruled Iraq for many years protected our rights because Christians were a highly educated and peaceful people. Saddam Hussein knew if we left the country, he would lose a community that quietly works hard and did not represent a political threat to his government.

The fact that Christians are relatively well educated and middle class explains why the Christian exodus is a social and economic loss for the whole country. Many Christian professionals specialize in engineering, medicine, computers and other fields needed to build a new Iraq. According to a recent study conducted by Father Yousif Thomas of Baghdad, Iraqi Christians who hold master's and doctorate degrees make up about 40 percent of the total number of Iraqis holding the same qualifications.

Meanwhile, the extremist religious gangs continue to conduct their dirty business as usual. Their obvious goal is to drive Christians out. Their hidden goal could be to impose a Taliban lifestyle on all citizens, including Muslims.

So far, the new government has not done much to protect the Christian minority. Its migration could be stanched if the Iraqi government were to provide Christians with more protection. Empty promises do not stop insurgents' bombs, however, nor do they stop Christians from fleeing for their lives.

Not talking about the Iraqi problems won't make them vanish. It's for everyone's benefit to know these problems. Then, someone with authority may try to solve them.

Arabic Word of The Post:
opportunity: فرصة - / fur-SA /
opportunity: فرص - / foo-RAS /

Post Links:
Five Churches Bombed In Baghdad
Fayrouz Hancock: Iraqi Exodus

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

This Can't Be True

Someone please tell me this is not true:

US President George W. Bush said he would accept an Islamic government in Iraq as the result of free elections.

Mr Bush told the Associated Press in an interview that he would accept such a result if elections were open and fair.

"I will be disappointed. But democracy is democracy," he said during an interview given on Air Force One.

"If that's what the people choose, that's what the people choose," he said. Free elections are expected in the country next January.

Islamic government? Is that what Iraqis really need?

I'm trying to analyze what the President said. I still can't figure out if what he said was lost in translation or he really meant it. I'm sure he's hoping for the best. But, reading this and watching what's currently happening in Iraq doesn't help people like me, who believe in separation of religion and government. It takes away the little hope left in our hearts.

UPDATE 10/20/2004
I received a good and logical explanation from Michael Openshaw:
What would have happened if Bush answered the opposite? He would be Saying to the Iraqi people 'We will allow you *only* the types of democracy we approve of'. Not exactly the message to deliver at this time.

If they *did* vote in an Islamic government and that government started getting abusive in any way, watch how fast the definition of 'accept' would be altered ;-)

Post Links:
Bush: I would accept Islamic Iraq
Data Troll

Kidnapping of CARE Charity Worker

The terrorists surprise us every day with how low they can go. Today, they kidnapped Margaret Hassan, a British-Iraqi citizen, who lived in Iraq for 30 years. She's the head of CARE International in Iraq. This charity organization has been helping the Iraqi people since the start of the U.N. sanctions in 1990. Today, the terrorists rewarded Iraq by abducting this lady, who served the Iraqi people more than many of us will ever do.

So far, those gangs released all abducted women in Iraq. Let's pray for the safety of Margaret.

I leave you with an analysis of the Iraqi insurgent groups written by Judith S. Yaphe. I hope I gave you enough reading for today :-)

Arabic Word of The Post:
care: رعاية - / ree-'Aya /

Post Links:
Agency halts aid projects in Iraq
CARE International
At Least 8 Women Abducted in Iraq
A compendium of Iraqi insurgent groups, and what it is they want

Nice Opinion Your Excellency The Minister

I translated another column written by Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashid, the manager of Al-Arabiya TV station. The column was published in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper two weeks ago. I was supposed to post it last week. But, I had to push the article back for more urgent posts.

Nice Opinion Your Excellency The Minister
By Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashid

The French Foreign Minister threw a stone in Iraq’s disturbed water. Michel Barnier called to include the Iraqi resistance forces in the suggested international conference to discuss the situation of land of Mesopotamia. Nice opinion as there is no benefit from a conference dedicated only to speeches or the government side as the problem is not with the Iraqi government but with the people who are fighting against it.

And this clever suggestion misses an addition that tells us who this resistance is. The resistance could be invited to the conference location in Cairo, as requested by the American government, or New York, as suggested by the French government. If we excluded Muqtada Al-Sadr’s movement, which is known by name, the rest are anonymous. How could a resistance of ghosts be invited to attend? Are they going to arrive to the conference room as they appear on television with their kidnapped or decapitated victims? And, if we assumed the French Foreign Ministry found the leaders of the secret resistance, how would they classify them? I mean if Al-Zarqawi agreed to attend the conference accompanied by major leaders of the movement, would the French Foreign Ministry consider them Iraqi resistance considering that Abu Musaab Al-Zarqawi is Jordanian. His deputy until last week was Jordanian too. His assistants are an Egyptian, Algerian and the other is from the Arab Gulf.

We talk with assumption because we know the resistance with the suicidal cars and decapitated victims isn’t Iraqi. Also, it doesn’t recognize the United Nations except as an organization for infidel states. Its project will not stop until it removes the last head in the world and not only in Iraq. Therefore, the problem is not in admitting the existence of a fierce resistance power on land, but to find it and persuade it to attend. Yes, there are phantoms of Iraqi voices, which differ with the new regime and most of them has the right of speech and objection. They would be hunted down if they carry weapons. If France thinks the international conference will be a chance to narrow the disagreement gap among the different Iraqi groups, then its opinion is right on the condition of receiving a complete blessing from the international community with the world commitment to support Iraq according to the conference recommendations.

But, I suppose nobody wants to send their soldiers or pay money to fulfill the conference recommendations. Then there is no value for a conference without work tools or truthful international determination. I think the conference will split into a cosmetic advertising arena between two teams. One team will promote the legitimacy of the existing regime and other team will try to win the resistance to its side to avoid its evil.

If Iraq needs a conference, it would be to confirm the safety of a legitimate regime that unites and does not divide, whatever our opinion of the one who will stand as its head in the future. The existence of a strong central regime guarantees the safety of a population of 25-million. It also guarantees safety to a neighboring area with a population of 100-million people under threat. Without a free and fair Iraqi regime that unites the Iraqi citizens, the whole world, not only Iraq, will lose.

Post Links:
قول جميل يا معالي الوزير

Monday, October 18, 2004

Doing It The Wiggles Way - Update I

Tabby, the Iraqi girl who has a hemangioma that is threatening her life, is arriving to America this week for medical treatment. Read Chief Wiggles' latest update:

Yes folks, Tabby is FINALLY coming to the US to receive the treatment she so desperately needs!

Tabby will arrive at the Charleston, South Carolina airport, Midnight on Friday, the 22nd!!!

Any and all are invited to come and greet her at the airport!

Chief Wiggles and Dr. Hochman will be there as well to greet her!


Thank you so much for the chief and everyone who helped him save Tabby's life.

Arabic Word of The Post:
possible: ممكن - / mum-kin /

Post Links:
Doing It The Wiggles Way
Tabby Will Arrive THIS WEEK!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Life Does Not Stop

Today, I'm back to my positive self. I'm learning from the people living inside Iraq. They're the real heroes.

One day after the church bombing, the Iraqi Christians defied all odds. They spent Saturday night removing debris from their ruined churches. Today, there was a celebration of life. The photo shows Savio getting baptized at St. George Church that was bombed yesterday. Savio's dad said to Scott Peterson, staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor:

"I am very happy today. This fire and this bombing is death. But this baptism is new life for this church, for Christians, Muslims, and everyone in Iraq."

Fr. Yousif was interviewed by the reporter. Here's his encouraging words:

"People are frightened. We are an easy target," said The Rev. Yousif Thomas Mirkis, a priest and theology professor. "I compare our community to pigeons. You do that" - he claps - "and they all fly."

Fr. Thomas says he tells those seeking advice to stay in Iraq, since, by his count, the community accounts for 20 percent of Iraq's doctors, and an even larger slice of professions like engineers and professors.

"We don't want our people to leave," he said. "All Iraqis are my brothers, killers and victims. If I leave, it will not solve the problem. What about the Muslims? They are not our enemies."

Whoever did this needs to know that Iraqis of all sectors will continue to live. This is an Iraqi war against the "death eaters." We either win or die.

Arabic Word of The Post:
positive - feminine: ايجابي - / eeja-bee /
positive - masculine: ايجابية - / eeja-bia /

Post Links:
Church Bells Ring in Baghdad After Bombings
Iraqi Christians struggle to stay

Labels: ,

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Five Churches Bombed In Baghdad

Five churches were bombed in Baghdad Saturday morning. Luckily, there were no casualties. Two of the churches were damaged beyond repair. I'm so angry. I want to scream out loud:


I received the following e-mail from Fr. Yousif:
we are ok, fortunately nobody was hurt in these 5 bombing of the churches. It is a new miracle. A small light in the darkness.

we pray for those who believe they can resolve the problems with violence.

To watch a video of the damaged churches, click here.
To read the reaction of Iraqi Christians to the latest churches' bombing, click here and here.

Post Links:
5 Baghdad Churches Bombed
Video: Series of Blasts Rock Baghdad
Targeted Christians talk of leaving Iraq
Iraq church bombings leave empty pews

Friday, October 15, 2004

Story of a Released Hostage

We always follow the news of hostages, especially if they were of a nationality of our interest until they get released or executed. We don't hear much about their stories if released, except for the two Simonas who obviously were treated well by what they called "the Iraqi resistance."

Today, I read the story of a Lebanese hostage in Iraq, who was released two months ago. He gave the kidnappers the correct label when he said in an interview with reporter Nicholas Blanford. WARNING: The report include graphic details.:
There is no resistance. They are all criminals and thieves.

Mohammed Raad, the son of a Lebanese father and an Iraqi mother, decided to travel to Iraq to work as a truck driver and to get engaged to his cousin who lives in Iraq. Things went bad the moment he crossed the Iraqi-Syrian border. He was abducted from his hotel room in Al-Ramadi by followers of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. While being held as a hostage, he was forced to witness the beheading of an Egyptian, whose name was Mohammed Mutwalli, which he gave the details during his interview.

I found the following part of the interview very interesting:

"They [The captors] threw hand grenades into the water to kill the fish," he said. "But the Americans would hear the explosions and arrive in their helicopters to shoot up the river bank."

When American and Iraqi troops raided the neighborhood, the militants and Raad hid in trees near the river.

"They were in contact with the Iraqi police by walkie-talkie. The police told them when the Americans had gone and they could come out of hiding."

Corrupted Iraqi police. Yes, we have to admit some of the Iraqi cops are corrupted. Read more about this subject on Iraq at Glance.

So, what are we fighting in Iraq? Criminals, thieves and drug addicts.

Arabic Word of The Post:

Lebanese - masculine : لبناني - / lib-NAni /
Lebanese - feminine : لبنانية - / lib-NA-nia /

Post Links:
Nightmares plague former Lebanese hostage
What are you doing for us?
Muqtada leader of the Assassins

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Unborn Children Found In a Mass Grave

It isn't new to anybody that Saddam's regime executed many Iraqis. The evidence was found in the many mass graves discovered after the collapse of his regime. But, there are few who know that he executed many women, children and unborn babies. They probably know, but they're in denial.

The newly discovered mass grave in Hatra, Iraq is slowly making the headlines today. A BBC News report states:

US-led investigators have located nine trenches in Hatra containing hundreds of bodies believed to be Kurds killed during the repression of the 1980s.

The skeletons of unborn babies and toddlers clutching toys are being unearthed, the investigators said.


The body of one woman was found still clutching a baby. The infant had been shot in the back of the head and the woman in the face.

"The youngest foetus we have was 18 to 20 foetal weeks," said US investigating anthropologist P Willey.

"Tiny bones, femurs - thighbones the size of a matchstick."

Laci Peterson's murder case is still making the headlines in America. But news reports like above are hard to find in our media. People's views are so fogged with the pleasure of declaring Iraq's peace a failure that they don't want to know about these discoveries. Those are the same people who closed their eyes and ears when Saddam was killing the Iraqi population slowly.

Arabic Word of The Post:

evidence: دليل - / daleel /

Post Links:
Babies found in Iraqi mass grave
The Laci Peterson case

Being a Cartoonist In Iraq

There's nothing better than a comic cartoon to tell a serious issue in a humorous way. That's why I like cartoons and cartoonists. Iraqi cartoonists made me laugh even under Saddam's surveillance systems. Those cartoonists were heroes in their own way.

With the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime, the Iraqi cartoonists started to draw lines with their black pens without fear of the government's reaction. But now, they have to face a different kind of fear. The fear of being killed by the militant gangs because their cartoons mock the violence conducted by those criminals. Still, they're determined to continue their work.

Tom Perry reports:
Iraqi cartoonist Muayed Naima had to wait 35 years before he could draw what was on his mind.

But since Saddam Hussein was toppled, he has faced new pressure from Islamist militants who have threatened him because his work mocks their violence. He is not put off.

"Oppression is our past. This is about democracy," Naima said. "I must continue."

One of his recent cartoons depicts a militant measuring the neck of a bound victim and choosing from an array of numbered knives with which to behead him.

"It shows that killing is the only concern of these people," Naima said. "When you mock the people who are undertaking these acts, you are making others aware that these acts are illegal and immoral."

And if you wonder which cartoon I check daily, the answer is "Wizard of Id." I find it very funny.

Arabic Word of The Post:

fear: خوف - / 'khawf /

Post Links:
Iraqi Cartoonists Mock Militants and America Alike
Wizard of Id

Monday, October 11, 2004

Mother Teresa and Me

I was reading The Dallas Morning News this afternoon when I noticed a photograph of Mother Teresa on the Viewpoints page with the headline, "Mother Teresa's spirit lives in Baghdad." It sounded familiar to me. So, I looked to the right, and I saw my photo too. Yes, my earlier post, "Mother Teresa and Iraq," was published today in the newspaper -- The online version doesn't include the photos. I don't think I'll get another chance in my life to have my photo with Mother Teresa's photo in one place. So, thank you Rod Dreher for making my day a better one.

And, if that wasn't enough, I looked under my article and saw Andrew Sullivan's photo and article. Now, I can put a face to his words. You probably didn't know, but I'm a fan of Andrew Sullivan.

So yes, today is my lucky day.

Arabic Word of The Post:

mother: أم - / oom /
mothers: أمهات - / oom-mahat /

Post Links:
Vox Pop: Let's quit mooning over France
Mother Teresa and Iraq
Daily Dish

Saturday, October 09, 2004

John Howard, You Won Again

As you know I'm an Iraqi-Australian. So, I woke up this morning and checked the news to see who won the Australian Election. I wanted to explain how Australian elections work. Then, I found a post by a fellow Australian blogger who put it much better than I would've done. I share his opinion about Australian elections. You'll understand why after you read his post. Michael Ross wrote before casting his vote ysterday:

Voting is a waste of time. I've written on it before - how not one single person I have ever voted for has won their seat. And today - Saturday, October 9, 2004 - sees me being forced to vote again.

What a sad state of affairs it is that a person is FORCED to vote under threat of a fine. When it boils down to it, that is voting at gun point.

How so? you ask.

Simple. If I do not vote I will be sent a fine to pay. If I do not pay that fine I will receive a notice to come to a nice little court gathering. If I fail to show up at court a warrant will be issued. If someone comes to serve that warrant and I tell them to go fly a kite, then I will see the guns.

The guns are always there.

It's just that they are not visible on the surface.

Anyway. Today, I am not going to vote for anyone on my ballot. I am going to cast a vote for people not on my ballot. My vote will be considered a donkey vote. An "informal" vote. Not to be counted. Just because I choose to vote for people not on the designated ballot form.

Once, I had to pay a fine for not voting in a local council election. I didn't know there was an election because nobody campaigned in my area. Why would they when everyone has to vote or else. Since then, I really didn't care who won or lost. When election day arrived, I would go cast my ballot and then enjoy the day with my friends.

Arabic Word of The Post:

friend: صديق - / sadee-K /
friends: أصدقاء - / asdee-ka /

Post Links:
Putting Theory To The Test On Election Day
The Results of My Scientific Election Day Experiment

Friday, October 08, 2004

Keeping Up The High Spirit

I sent the following e-mail to Fr. Yousif asking him about the current situation in Iraq:

I hope all is going well on your end ... I have a special request, and I hope you could help. The news from Iraq hasn't been good lately. Especially after the killing of children last week. Here, we get conflicted messages of where the Iraqi situation is going. I trust your judgment, and I wish you could tell us how bad/good things are going in Iraq. Do you see a good or bad future during the next few months? It's really important because everyone here is losing their faith about the situation. I would appreciate your opinion.

Here's his reply:

It is sometimes very difficult to answer to the question immediately. Our faith has an answer, but it can't be explained by words.

I know many people are losing their faith now. But it is exactly the time to show it and to take energy from it. History of the believers is full of those who can see when it is dark to everybody else.

We are praying to the victims, and for the killers too. How can they change our situation with such violence?

Our project is going on, we are trying to have the permissions necessary for the university. A NGO is helping with the construction of part of the project. We are preparing to form an academic team next week.

Some Christians are leaving the country. Others are going to the North. But we still want to help in our way: the culture and human sciences. It is perhaps crazy.

Thank you for trusting us.

Fr. Yousif Thomas

You may be wondering why he said, "we are praying to the victims, and for the killers too." The answer to your question is that Middle Eastern Chirstians follow this teaching of Jesus:

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

I wish we could have more people like Fr. Yousif in Iraq. People who choose to live and are working to see other people living to their best.

And last, here's the comments section poll results:
69% voted Yes.
31% voted No.

Sorry, not enough votes to turn it on. But, here's the new animated video from JibJab, GOOD TO BE IN DC!. Have fun.

Arabic Word of The Post:

good: جيد - / jay-yid /

Post Links:
Fr. Yousif - Q & A Session.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Black Sheep Down

Every family must suffer from a bad family member. My parents' neighbors in Baghdad were not an exception. The neighbors had a son named "Saddam" -- I wonder if the name itself was a curse. Saddam was a bad guy in his neighborhood. He had a popular hobby during the last years of Saddam Hussein's era. It was called "stealing water pumps." He stole more than seven water pumps, including my parents pump, before he was arrested by the cops a few years ago.

The cops called my dad and probably a few other neighbors as witnesses. Saddam, the black sheep, was sentenced for many years in jail. Good riddance. The neighborhood became quiet and happy again. Well, it didn't last long. Do you remember the nobility of Saddam Hussein when he released 70,000 criminals before the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom? Well, my parents' neighborhood was blessed by the return of the black sheep to its streets.

My parents left Iraq last year and gave their house to my cousin and her husband. For their bad luck, they had to deal with Saddam, who kept quiet till the collapse of Saddam's regime. That's when the black sheep started threatening the neighbors, who put him in jail for his crimes. We got our share from his revenge. First, he demanded a large amount of money or said he would blow up the house with grenades. My cousin's husband had to evacuate the house until he sorted out this matter with the mayor of the neighborhood. How does that work? My cousin's husband had to pay the black sheep a large amount of money for the promise of not attacking the house.

Well, that was the start of a good business for this criminal. He kept terrorizing the neighbors by demanding money from this person and that person ... or else. This continued until a short time ago when the black sheep decided it's time to torture his relatives too. So, he decided to steal his uncle's car. The uncle caught him in the act. In a moment of anger, the uncle took control of the car and drove over Saddam to send him to his death.

My sister called my cousin few days ago. They expressed the neighborhood's happiness and quietness with the end of this person. He had wanted to set himself up as Tony Soprano in their part of town.

Now there's one less criminal to worry about.

Arabic Word of The Post:

black: أسود - / aswed /
white: أبيض - / abyeTH /

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Live From Dallas' First Anniversary

It's been a year since I started this blog. Let me say that blogging is not a fun business. It's a very stressful hobby. I put lots of emotions in every post I write. It's not easy to stay positive most of the time. I lost my temper a few times. Only God can keep his temper under control 24/7. I can't. Sorry.

When I started this blog, my goal was to find my old friends. I found a few of them within the first few months. It was worth starting this blog.

Another goal for this blog was to establish person-to-person connections between Iraqi and non-Iraqi people whether by e-mail or by encouraging people to make a difference in someone's life. It's worth the stress I get from blogging.

The last two days were marvelous with more people donating to Fr. Yousif's project. Thanks to everyone who donated to this project. I appreciate your investment in the future of Iraq.

Many people have e-mailed me requesting a comments section for the blog. A few of them almost convinced me to turn the comments section on. I thought I'd put this request on the shelf till after the presidential election. I highly respect both my Democrat and Republican readers. I'd hate to see my readers screaming at each other. So, I setup a poll to decide on this matter. If more than 74 per cent of the readers vote "Yes," I'll turn the comments section on. That's fair enough for everyone.

UPDATE Oct. 8, 2004:
The poll ended with the following results:
69% voted Yes.
31% voted No.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Doing It The Wiggles Way

When Chief Wiggles finished his tour in Iraq, I thought he would come back home and spend the day watching TV or reading books. I guess I was wrong. He's still working hard to help as many Iraqi children as he can. That's why I admire him very much.

September was a busy month for the chief. He's been working to bring a 9-month-old Iraqi girl to America for medical treatment. Tabby, the Iraqi girl, has a hemangioma that is threatening her life. The chief has already arranged with Dr. Hochman and his group from South Carolina to give Tabby the operations when she arrives in America. He has collected enough frequent flyer miles to get her and her father tickets to America. The only problem he had this morning was guaranteeing a visa interview for the two. But, even this matter got solved. He published an update this afternoon on his blog. They have an interview at the American embassy in Amman on Sunday.

Thanks to Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and the other senators who contacted the American embassy in Amman, Jordan. Thanks to everyone who helped and are still helping to make this baby's life a better one.

I said it before and will say it again, you can't win everyone's heart in Iraq. But, you can win one heart at a time. Take a chance and help Iraqis individually if you really want to win the peace in Iraq.

BTW, I'm sending the money to Fr. Yousif on Monday. So, you still have time to make a difference.

Arabic Word of The Post:

embassy: سفارة - / safara /
embassies: سفارات - / safarat /

Post Links:
Chief Wiggles
Trying to save a little girl
An update on Tabby
Tabby is on her way!!